Thursday, August 26, 2010

Vacation Art Experiments

We were on vacation in Maine last week so I brought along lots of artsy projects to do. I brought along this piece that is almost the twin of another piece that I hand-stitched. I wasn't too happy with this one at first because it is made up of two photos printed on canvas and the canvas was making sort of poofy areas when I machine stitched on it. I did some more machine stitching on it and it seems to help. I did do even more machine stitching, but the photo was taken at a point when I took a break because I kept breaking my thread. I probably should have had a heftier needle in the machine to stitch through canvas.This is another piece that I started for fun. It has some photos printed on photo paper that I soaked in water and distressed a bit when they were wet. I had planned to machine stitch this at first, but I've ended up hand-stitching on it so far. The web-like part are Mom's bandages that she dyed green when she had some extra bandages from an injury a while back. The background is actually a piece of dyed Tissutex paper that I got from the Papershed ages ago. It's got a piece of fabric behind it to add a bit more stability.My other experiment involved some little fiber Mokuba water-soluble stabilizer samples that I'd gotten ready to stitch a few months ago. We had someone have trouble washing the Mokuba stabilizer out of a project with wool fibers in it so I had decided to do some experiments to see if I could figure out any tricks to help wash the stabilizer out of projects using loose fibers. I had made little arrangements of wool, silk, and Angelina fibers on the tacky sheet of the Mokuba stabilizer.

Here is one arrangement of fibers continuing my oh-so-reoccurring swirl pattern theme. This has the clear stabilizer being laid down on it part way.

Here's the stitching I did to hold all the fibers togetherand then I turned the piece over and stitched some more on the back in a swirl.I dissolved away the stabilizer in water. I did four of these samples to try rinsing away the stabilizer in different ways. Hot water was somewhat better than cold. Soap made no difference in the ease of washing out stabilizer. It was necessary to use a lot of agitation to get the stabilizer out and even then the wool fibers didn't want to let all the stabilizer rinse away.
The fibers (especially the wool) wanted to hold onto the stabilizer. I had to rub the pieces vigorously along the bottom of the tub I was rinsing them in and change the water frequently. (Dumping it down the toilet to safely dispose of the stabilizer residue filled water.) After several vigorous rinsings, the piece with the most wool fiber still had little white bits of stabilizer stuck in the wool fibers. I decided for the time being that I'd done enough rinsing since these were only samples anyway.

My mom's and my theory is that the scales on wool fibers that make it felt so nicely hold onto the stabilizer bits and make it almost impossible to rinse out all the stabilizer. My samples were about six inches in diameter at the most and had only some wool. Any larger project with even more wool content would likely make rinsing out all the stabilizer even more difficult. The areas with the silk fibers didn't have anywhere near the same problem.

For other projects Mom and I have done with Mokuba stabilizer the stabilizer has rinsed away beautifully compared to other types of water-soluble stabilizers. I suppose any cool product can have its limitations. We'll be avoiding using wool fibers and wool yarns with Mokuba for the time being at least.

So I didn't manage to bring my entire studio with me on vacation, but I sure tried.

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